For parents who've wrecked their own credit rating, cashing in on junior's clean financial history is increasingly tempting.
Children make easy targets for identity thieves because they don't use their own credit and likely wouldn't notice any discrepancies until they reach adulthood.
And when a parent uses his or her own child, the risk of prosecution is lower because of the family ties. It's not easy to turn in mom and dad, especially if they were simply trying to provide for the family.
"The parent is saying, 'I have to keep the lights on and water running,'" said Adam Levin, co-founder of Identity Theft 911 and CEO of Credit.com. "But unfortunately, they often fall behind on payments and in the end, they've just put their child behind the 8-ball."
If parents have a child's social security number, they can do almost anything -- no matter how young the child is -- because a credit check does not verify a person's age, said Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com.
Here are several ways parents can damage their children's financial reputation before they even finish school:...